The great outdoors are great for your health

A man standing on a dock next to the lake

Spending time in the great outdoors not only feels great, but it also has significant and wide-ranging health benefits. The clinical evidence proves it. Here is a sampling of a few studies.

  • People who spent two hours a week in green spaces — local parks or other natural environments, either all at once or spaced over several visits — were substantially more likely to report good health and psychological well-being than those who didn’t. Source: Scientific Reports
  • Exposure to greenspace reduces risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure. Source: Science Daily.
  • Outdoor expeditions can help war veterans grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder. Source: University of Washington and REI
  • Even just looking out of the window and seeing trees tends to increase job satisfaction and reduce stress. Source: Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research.
  • The sounds of nature can have profound health and well-being benefits. Water sounds contribute to a positive outlook, while bird sounds lower stress. Source: National Academy of Sciences.

A prescription for health

One non-profit organization, Park Rx America, has stated that its mission is to decrease the burden of chronic disease, increase health and happiness, and foster environmental stewardship, by virtue of “prescribing” nature to their patients. Park Rx doctors, nurses and therapists believe:

  • Contact with nature improves your physical, mental, and spiritual health.
  • Getting outdoors can make getting exercise more fun, can boost your mood and your immunity, and combat obesity.
  • For children, getting outdoors fosters active play, which is associated with physical, cognitive, and social benefits.
  • For adolescents, getting outdoors improves mental and social health during which is often a challenging time of life.
  • Getting outdoors is also linked to physical and mental health benefits, overall quality of life among adults, especially older adults.
  • Nature’s health benefits can be enjoyed by simply viewing a tree from your window.

So, get outside this summer, enjoy nature — check out what Minnesota has to offer!